Prestige 40 Under 40: Joyce Lam, Entrepreneur
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Joyce Lam

Founder of Rue Gembon

Those who love

dainty jewellery – stackable necklaces and rings in particular – definitely need Rue Gembon on their radar. Founded by 32-year-old Joyce Lam in 2013, the brand has garnered more than 115,000 followers on Instagram and in the process become the go-to for minimal jewellery online.

While at university in New York, Lam kept her schedule as packed as possible. Not only did she intern at WWD, 3.1 Phillip Lim and Elle, but she also freelanced for the latter’s style director Kate Lanphear, a mentor at the time who taught her how to navigate the fashion industry.

If there’s a single thing she learnt from her internships, it’s to put in 100-percent effort. “You need to put in time,” Lam says. “Lots of it. And you’ve got to pay your dues. Whatever you lack, you need to make up for it by doing extra-hard work.”

Working at a fashion magazine might seem like The Devil Wears Prada in real life, but assisting in photoshoots surely helped to shape Lam’s creative side. On her return to Hong Kong, she worked at a jewellery start-up for two years and before launching Rue Gembon.

“All the skills I’ve learnt from my internships and work experiences definitely come in handy,” she says. “They’ve taught me how to execute my visions to life. I’ve always been quite intuitive in terms of what I like. I noticed the power of styling back in Elle, and it became the backbone of Rue Gembon.”

Stackable jewellery has been the brand’s signature since the beginning, and her team makes sure that this vision is reflected on all social-media platforms. “It’s good that customers appreciate our effort, because we put so much of our time and effort into styling.”

So, where does the inspiration come from? “Our customers,” Lam says. “Our Instagram direct message is constantly blowing up regarding certain requests. We want to understand our customers, so customer-relationship management is really important to us.”

Lam is also careful to retain control of her vision, despite her competitors’ frequent collaborations with influencers and fashionistas. “I’m a huge control freak,” she says. “I feel as if it’ll steer us away from our current path if we start collaborating with a third party, so we don’t have any collaborations – yet.”

For now, Rue Gembon is focusing on its pre-autumn collection, which includes oversize statement earrings, and a soon- to-launch sub-diffusion line at a higher price point with more refined accessories. A pop-up store is also in the pipeline.

As we talk, Lam gracefully declines our offer to style her hair. “As I’m getting married this week, I’d rather leave my hair as natural as it is.

“I’m blessed with a very supportive fiancé,” she adds. “As we only have three people on the Rue Gembon team, we have to do marketing, shipping and even inventory checks ourselves. I obviously can’t do this on my own and I’m blessed to have a team with aligned vision.”

 

Outfit: Lam’s own